If you decide to claim trial to a Criminal charge, the case will generally be fixed for a Pre-Trial Conference (PTC). A PTC is an administrative conference where the Court asks for an update on the status of the matters proceeding to trial. You can expect a Judge to be present during a PTC.
A centralised PTC Court usually hears the PTCs. The Criminal Mentions Court will inform you which Court your PTC is to be held at during the first and second mentions. Community Court matters are heard in Community Courts.
At the PTC, the Court will inquire into and/or deal with the following matters: Whether you are pleading guilty or electing to claim trial to the present charges. The Court will want to be updated on timelines and progress regarding your case. If you are pleading guilty, the Court may provide directions for the Prosecution to forward a draft Statement of Facts (“SOF”) before the date of pleading guilty.
If you are represented by a lawyer, your lawyer may advise on whether to tender a written Mitigation Plea or do so verbally.
If you are claiming trial, and the case is one that qualifies for Criminal Case Disclosure Conference (“CCDC”), a CCDC date will be fixed. The Court may enquire into other issues that need to be resolved, such as time required for obtaining reports (i.e. medical, forensic, psychiatric, or other expert reports). A list of witnesses and documents to be relied on should be produced.
If your lawyer informs the Court with an update of representations made to the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) on your behalf, the Court will give directions for him/her to submit further representations to the AGC.